City fillies Neona, Portia & Maple Star set for Indian 1000 Guineas battle
The stage is set for the first Classic of the Mumbai racing season 2012-13 - the grade 1, Gitanjali Indian 1000 Guineas at the Mahalaxmi racecourse this Sunday with the winner being crowned as the best miler among the fillies born in 2009.
Ten have accepted to face the starter, three of them outstation challengers. At least on paper the race looks quite open, with three local fillies — Neona, Portia and Maple Star likely to be challenged by Vijay’s Pride from Hyderabad.
Neona (Ace-Victory And Gold), bred at the Poonawalla farm, is trained by Bezan Chenoy and will be ridden by Daniel Grant. She had won a couple of grade 2 races at Pune (FD Wadia Cup and SA Poonawalla Multi-million) before giving a skip to the Nanoli Pune Derby, and was not unduly stretched to finish runner up to Hachiko in a prep race at Mahalaxmi last month.
Maple Star (Mull Of Kintyre-Sonic Symphony) and Portia (Bertolini- Pescara), who have twice been involved in a photo finish, will renew their battle in this race, with the former being looked upon as having an advantage at the scales because she will be carrying level weight (57 kg) now, unlike in the past when she was conceding weight.
However, that edge may be nullified on the racetrack as trainer Karthik suffers from the lack of a good jockey with big-race temperament, whereas Portia’s trainer Pesi Shroff has already made arrangements to engage champion English rider Richard Hughes.
The main challenge to the local brigade will be from Vijay’s Pride (Bertolini- Designer Chic), saddled by LVR Deshmukh from Hyderabad. A champion miler, Vijay’s Pride has won all the three Classics she has contested so far, and has won over Rs 7 million in stakes. She will be ridden by Pradeep Chouhan.
The joker in the pack is Showin’off (Too Much Bling-Golden Dayjur) from Bangalore, a talented but temperamental filly trained by Suleiman Attaollahi, who habitually throws tantrums at the gates, but if stalled, is capable of running a big race.
Jacqueline’s son in 2014 Epsom Derby
Indian super filly Jacqueline, winner of the Indian 1000 Guineas in 2009 who had also won the 2000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Derby, has featured as the first Indian mare to have her progeny entered into the Epsom Derby fray. Primogeniture, Jacqueline’s first foal out of the world's leading stallion Galileo, is among the 406 horses entered for the 2014 edition of the Investec Epsom Derby. Primogeniture is owned by Mr & Mrs K N Dhunjibhoy with Vijay Shirke & Burgess Minoo Desai, and is being trained by John Oxx in Ireland.